After internship opportunities fell through, Gonzalez used his savings and entrepreneurial skills to start Music City Sanitizing LLC using electrostatic disinfectant spray to sanitize area businesses and facilities.
Opportunity doesn’t take a summer off. Even during a pandemic, even when internships evaporate, it’s still there knocking.
Ask Eduardo Gonzalez ’21, who’s spending this chaotic summer as an entrepreneur in Nashville establishing Music City Sanitizing Services LLC. Using electrostatic spraying technology, Music City Sanitizing Services specializes in disinfecting businesses for safety and customer and employee peace of mind. The electrostatic mist of disinfecting chemicals automatically clings to surfaces to kill viruses and bacteria — a big deal in the era of COVID-19.
Gonzalez, an engineering major interested in renewable energy, works 100-hour weeks: Up and out the door by 8 a.m. to do the footwork of going door-to-door recruiting clients and returning after closing hours to work as late as 2:30 a.m. There are no weekends off. He’s OK with that.
“I’m not just going to sit around,”Gonzalez says. “I want to make the most of my situation.”
His situation is this: This spring, while studying abroad in Barcelona, he had four possible internships lined up for this summer. After he returned stateside and the pandemic raged, one-by-one, those internship positions vanished one after the other by early April.
Gonzalez has experience in entrepreneurship with a lawncare and moving business he and a friend started a few summers ago. He knew sanitation would be a potential barrier to businesses reopening and researched the technology behind electrostatic sprayers in the disinfection process. He leaned on friends in the property management for business advice. Then he took the plunge.
He used the $7,000 he had saved from his lawncare business plus earnings from spring and summer delivery gigs with Postmates and DoorDash to purchase the electrostatic sprayer, disinfectant chemicals and the protective suit and gear he wears on the job, and to establish his business with the state of Tennessee.
“I’m a go-getter. If I see an opportunity, I’m going to pursue it and pursue it hard,” Gonzalez says.
Disinfecting a small business — like a salon or yoga studio — takes about an hour and 15 minutes, he said. That includes the time it takes to suit up, mix chemicals, and refill the tank. A larger business — he disinfected a 17,000-square-foot office building one weekend — takes an entire day.
“Office spaces are the hardest. Everyone is so packed in,” Gonzalez says. “I spray high-contact surfaces, desks, touchpads, keyboards, and things like that. But when I spray the solution into the air, it’s positively charged and it’s electromagnetically attracted to surfaces, so it clings to and disinfects everything. If I spray desk or chair, the mist is also attracted to and disinfects the floors, walls, everywhere.”
This isn’t just a summer venture for Gonzalez. Any profits he makes are being invested in growing Music City Sanitizing Services. He plans to hire and train three employees to keep the business running once the academic year begins. He’ll run the business from campus and expects to travel to and from Nashville on weekends when necessary. He continues to recruit new clients and is pursuing contracts with Nashville’s mass transit system, the Transportation Security Administration and sports leagues. Music City Sanitizing Services is a subcontractor for a larger cleaning company out of New York City.
“A lot of people look at starting a business and they see all the good things about it: the independence, maybe notoriety if you’re successful,” Gonzalez says. “But they don’t see the underlying work it takes to build a business when no one is looking. There are so many times that you can give up. You have to be self-disciplined and motivated. I’ve been rejected. People have said no, yelled at me, and all of that. Most people, when that happens, they give up. They think it’s impossible. It is possible, it’s just very difficult.
“I’m just a guy trying to make a living,” Gonzalez says. “I want the experience of running a successful business, of being a successful business owner. When I have that experience, I’m sure it will translate to something else in the future.”